Rob Roy

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Rob Roy can refer to the popular novel by Sir Walter Scott(1771-1832)[1], published in 1817, and to his central character, Robert Roy Campbell MacGregor (1671-1734))[2], the brigand turned hero, who became known as "Rob Roy".

Rob Roy is also the shortened title by which a number of stage and film dramatizations of the novel from 1818 onwards are known.

Dramatizations of Rob Roy

While the authors of the adaptations are not always credited (the play even credited to Scott in some instances), recognized stage versions which were performed in 1818 alone include:

Rob Roy Macgregor, or Auld Lang Syne! by Isaac Pocock (1782–1835)[3], with music by John Davy (1763-1824)[4].

Rob Roy MacGregor by William Henry Murray[5]

Rob Roy, The Gregarach by George Soane[6]

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

A play called Rob Roy MacGregor Campbell, or simply referred to a Rob Roy, said to be based on Scott's novel (or credited to Scott himself), was performed a number of times in the African Theatre, Cape Town by the amateur company English Theatricals in the years 1823-24. It is most likely that this was the widely known and published Pocock musical version of 1818, but it may have been the William Henry Murray version, entitled Rob Roy Macgregor, which had been devised in association with Scott and was performed in Edinburgh in 1818. It was certainly not the Soane version, which was a straight play, for the adverts make reference to a "melodramatic opera", with "original Overture and Music".

Performances of all versions of Rob Roy in South Africa

1823: Performed as Rob Roy MacGregor Campbell "with the original Overture and Music, new Scenery, Dresses, etc." on 15 November, in the African Theatre, Cape Town, with as afterpiece The Mock Doctor (Fielding).

1823: Performed again by the company English Theatricals as Rob Roy MacGregor Campbell on 20 December, this time with All the World's a Stage (Jackman) as afterpiece.

1824: Performed as Rob Roy MacGregor Campbell, now called a "melodramatic opera", in the African Theatre, Cape Town, by the English Theatricals on 11 August, with The Weather-Cock (Forrest).


Facsimile version of the London published text of 1818, Google eBook[7]

Facsimile version of the New York published text of 1818, Google eBook[8]

Frederick Burwick. Playing to the Crowd: London Popular Theatre, 1780-1830:pp. 120-124 (Palgrave Macmillan, 08 Nov 2011)[9],_William_Henry_(DNB00)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [10]: pp. 197-199.

Jill Fletcher. 1994. The Story of Theatre in South Africa: A Guide to its History from 1780-1930. Cape Town: Vlaeberg: p. 40

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